Racing is a zero sum game. For one driver to succeed, another must fail.
The opposite is also true. When one driver fails, it creates an opportunity for another to succeed.
Heavy attrition in the South Point 400 at Las Vegas last week opened to door for six drivers to score season-best results.
12th – Regan Smith: In his second start in relief for Kasey Kahne, Smith earned his 30th career top 15 in his 215th Cup start. This was his best finish since finishing third at Pocono in 2016 (19 races for the part-time driver).
16th – Corey LaJoie: This was the second time this season LaJoie finished on the lead lap. He also went the full distance at Michigan in June’s rain-shortened race and finished 27th.
17th – JJ Yeley: He scored another top 20 (18th) earlier in the year at Daytona in the Coke Zero 400. This was Yeley’s best finish on a non-restrictor plate track since he finished third at New Hampshire in June 2008.
18th – Landon Cassill: In 20 starts in 2018, this is Cassill’s first time to finish on the lead lap. His previous best finish this year was a 20th at Bristol in April.
26th – Kyle Weatherman: In six Cup starts, this is Weatherman’s first top-30 finish. He came close to cracking the top 30 in his last two starts, however, with 31st-place results at Pocono and New Hampshire.
28th – BJ McLeod: This is McLeod’s best career finish in 20 Cup starts. It comes on the heels of another top-30 finish the previous week at Indy (30th).
Two other drivers earned their second-best finish of 2018.
Playoff contender Aric Almirola took full advantage of problems for his championship rivals and finished sixth – moving up to ninth in the standings from 14th. His best finish this year was third at New Hampshire in July.
Coming off his first career Xfinity win, Ross Chastain finished 20th at Las Vegas. His best Cup finish of 2018 was an 18th at Texas – another race with heavy attrition.